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A Review of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ: a Remarkable Luxury Car in Every Way

While the Lincoln brand has been best known for its brawny land yachts, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ has everything that you want from a modern luxury car inside, outside and under the hood – making for the best midsized luxury car that Ford Motor Company has offered up in many moons.


While critics outside of Ford Motor Company might try to question the future of the Lincoln brand, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is proof that FoMoCo hasn’t forgotten what they need to do in order to make the newest Lincoln models stand out in the luxury segment. While models like the MKS, the MKX and the Navigator have done a fine job for quite a few years of providing the Ford faithful with a quality luxury product on the cutting edge of automotive technology, the smaller Lincoln hasn’t quite lived up to that reputation in past years. When you experienced previous small Lincoln cars like the Zephyr or the previous MKZ, it was clear that these were gussied up Ford products. Fortunately, there were based on the extremely popular Ford Fusion so they sold well enough but they were just missing that special something to allow them to stand out in the luxury segment.

With the 2013 Lincoln MKZ – all of that changes. Every single aspect of the MKZ – from the stunning exterior design to the plush, extravagant cabin to the powerful drivetrain lineup – allows no mistaking this car for anything other than a modern luxury sedan. This car is still based on the basic architecture of the Ford Fusion but the vast array of differences between the Fusion and this new MKZ allow this Lincoln to be a car of its own…and not a rebadged Ford Fusion. Best of all, the new MKZ combines all of the amenities that the modern luxury midsized sedan buyer expects with a price topping out in the low $50,000 range.

My 2013 Lincoln MKZ test car was pretty much fully loaded with the Preferred Equipment Group ($5,330), the Technology Package ($2,550), the gorgeous panoramic glass roof ($2,995) and the optional 3.7L V6 engine ($1,250). When you add in the $495 upcharge for the Ruby Red paint, the delivery fees and the other small charges here and there – my test car had a sticker price of $51,205. That’s a lot of money but considering the level of amenities that you are getting for that price, it is almost a bargain compared to other vehicles in the segment.

The Exterior
The luxury segment is hotly contested and in the modern age of luxury sedans, being sporty is every bit as important as the car just plain looking high end and the 2013 Lincoln MKZ fills the bill in both regards. This car is a massive departure from the previous generation with striking styling that has slowly been spread across the entire Lincoln brand but on the MKZ – the “wing grille” design is arguably the most distinct. When you combine the flat-ish profile of the MKZ with the elevated, high tech rear end you have a car that stands out in the luxury midsized segment for all of the right reasons. Also, the 2013 MKZ looks absolutely nothing like the Ford Fusion with which it shares a platform so there is no chance of MKZ owners being accused of driving a chromed-up Fusion.

The front end of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the most eye-catching feature of the exterior design with the goals behind the “wing grille” design being very clear as there is no question that the dual unit grille with the integrated headlights look like a set of wings – right down to the angled spokes in the grille serving as the features in this birdlike design. This grille is clad in a ton of chrome in the border, through the center spokes and in the headlights and with the added chrome in the lower fascia area near the LED foglights, the face of the MKZ leaves no question as to this car’s purpose in the automotive world.

Above that sharp front end is a swooping hood with a variety of raised points that give the 2013 Lincoln MKZ a very fast look even when it is parked. Those “fast” lines in the hood lead to a gently sloping windshield that gives way to the gorgeous panoramic glass roof and into the long, low rear glass that flows into a beautifully integrated rear spoiler. This gives the MKZ a very bold silhouette with a slightly rakish stance created by this high rear end and the downward sloping front end. Along the sides, the sharp body line that runs from front to back gives the car a more level look but these bold lines help to give this Lincoln sedan a muscular look from all angles.

Out back, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ has even more character with a very sporty rear end that features the aforementioned integrated rear spoiler and a tail light design that is among the best on the market today. This huge single unit design runs from side to side with bright LEDs lighting up the huge lens but even when the lights are off in broad daylight – this new tail light design is a thing of beauty. The prominent rear bumper design pokes out just below this new lighting setup and along the bottom we find a contrasting black area with a mild diffuser design and a set of chrome integrated exhaust tips that drive home the luxury sport styling.

Im going to come right out and say it – I think that the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the best looking Lincoln brand vehicle ever and it is among the best looking midsized sedans available in America right now. Im a big fan of the MKS but the MKZ is truly a remarkable application of the styling language that we first saw on the MKS and this latest application is – in my opinion – the best that we have seen from Lincoln thus far. Ford Motor Company should be proud of the look of the 2013 MKZ because it is one of the sharpest luxury cars in the company’s history while also being one of the most distinct and most attractive vehicles sold in America today.

The Interior
As much as I was impressed by the exterior design of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, the real showstopper is the luxurious cabin of this midsized sedan. The front seats are thickly padded under plush leather so they look great while being every bit as comfortable as you would expect. These seats have deep hip and side bolsters but unlike more sport oriented models, the bolsters aren’t so hard that they poke into bigger drivers or passengers. The front seats are heated and cooled so they keep your backside at a pleasant level in any climate while the heated steering wheel keeps the drivers hands toasty warm on cold days as well. Best of all, the front seats offer a ton of leg, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder and head room so even very tall drivers and passengers will be able to comfortably enjoy the new MKZ. Between these spacious front seats is a super clean looking console that flows up into the dash with touch-to-open panels covering the center storage area and the cupholders. I’m not one to swoon over center consoles but I really like the look of the armrest area of the new MKZ. It is stylish, classy and very clean when all buttoned up but under these panels is a ton of storage space. There is also an open pass-through area under the console storage area for added front seat storage…and it looks cool.

The rear seats of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ also feature deep base bolsters for the outboard seating positions and while there is a larger center seat than many modern midsized sedans, it’s still a little tight for an adult between two other adults. The outboard positions are also heated but the best feature of the MKZ rear seats is the amount of leg and knee room. With the front seats adjusted to comfortably accommodate a 6 foot tall driver and passenger, there is a decent amount of space for equally tall rear riders. If you move the front seats forward a bit, you can greatly expand that rear leg room and thanks to the amount of size in the front foot wells, there is still plenty of leg room for those folks up front.

Ford Motor Company has put a tremendous amount of effort into interior technologies over the past few years in all of their vehicles so it should come as no surprise that the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is packed full of high end gadgetry. The entire cabin is focused around the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system which controls pretty much every aspect of interior functionality. I love the MyLincoln system and as is the case with the MyFord Touch system that I have raved about in previous reviews – MyLincoln Touch offers the same level of excellence. Below the large touch screen is a touch sensitive panel with controls for the sound system and climate control that allow you to swipe to make changes in fan speed and radio volume with some other touch-only buttons around these swipe bars. It takes some time to get used to these controls but I love the look and once you are used to them – there is really no downside to this setup. Of course, there are very few features of the MKZ that the driver cannot adjust with either the steering wheel mounted buttons or voice control (or both) including the climate control, the sound system, the navigation system, the hands free phone system and the driver information display that is mounted in the center of the TFT gauge cluster. This infotainment area also includes the push button start control and the unique push-button shift system that give the MKZ a unique touch.

Finally, one of the most expensive single features of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the $2,995 panoramic glass roof and while that is a lot of money for an elaborate sunroof – it is worth every cent. From the outside the panoramic roof gives the MKZ a very high end look but from the inside it creates a wonderfully inviting cabin. The huge glass opening makes for a very bright interior and unlike most other large glass roofs on the market today, this entire piece retracts to provide a large sunroof opening for front and rear riders. This glass roof is a “wow feature” when it is closed but people are blown away when they realize that the massive glass roof slides back to create one of the biggest sunroof openings Ive ever seen.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is stylish, inviting, comfortable and packed full of high tech amenities – covering all of the aspects needed from a modern luxury sedan. MyLincoln Touch is one of the best infotainment systems on the market today and the basic design of the MKZ interior is one of the best Ive seen in the midsize luxury segment. Add to the sexy design and the high tech goodies a set of plush, comfortable seats with tons of space and you have one of the most impressive cabins in the midsize luxury sedan segment.

The Drive
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is offered with either a 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder or a 3.7L V6 and either front wheel drive or all wheel drive. My test subject for this review was fitted with the larger V6 engine and the advanced all wheel drive system – a configuration that delivers 300 horsepower and 277lb-ft of torque while promising fuel economy figures of 18mpg in the city, 26 on the highway and 21mpg combined. In my time with the MKZ, I found that those figures were very realistic and while I averaged a touch under the expected 21mpg figure, I did more driving around town than on the highway. Because of this, I expect that those drivers who do a great deal of highway driving – especially if they have a lighter throttle foot than do I – will be able to exceed the EPA expectations in similar driving conditions. All in all, the fuel economy numbers aren’t the best but they are achievable under most normal driving circumstances.

Where the 2013 Lincoln MKZ really shines is in terms of performance. With 300hp and 277llb-ft of torque being delivered to all four wheels via a push button controlled 6-speed automatic transmission featuring steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, the MKZ packs great power and it can make use of every bit with the advanced all wheel drive system. Whether you are looking to rocket away from a stop light on a gorgeous sunny summer day or you are trying to dig through some icy winter slop, the MKZ is quick to answer the bell. Acceleration both from a stop and while in motion is strong and smooth with the paddle shifters on the steering wheel adding a little extra touch of performance driving fun to the roomy Lincoln sedan. These paddles allow for more spirited driving with lightning quick upshifts while accelerating and precise downshifts while preparing to corner so while I don’t imagine that a great many MKZ owners drive like they are on a road course – the fact is that this car handles itself very well on tight turns and through long sweeping turns when traveling at high speeds. Much like the larger MKS, the MKZ offers a great driving experience whether the driver is blasting down the highway, pulling hard away from a stop or cutting through a twisty country road and thanks to the advanced all wheel drive system; the MKZ offers just as much functionality in the snow as it does on a warm, sunny day.

Performance aside, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ offers exactly what every luxury buyer demands and that is a smooth, solid ride. Whether you are driving around town at low speeds or cruising the highway at much higher speeds, the interior of the MKZ is whisper quiet with very little wind noise or road noise transferring into the cabin. Mind you, the MKZ doesn’t have a “dead ride” that removes any and all feel for the road but while the driver can still get a good idea of what is going on under the tires through the steering and suspension system – the MKZ provides a smooth ride even on the roughest Detroit highways. When you are not looking to win any races, the acceleration of the MKZ is smooth and the engine is quiet with the shifts coming quickly and almost unnoticeably when the car is being driven more calmly so while this Lincoln offers plenty of fun to drive factor, it does so without killing any of the comforts that a modern luxury sedan simply has to offer. Along those same lines, the steering system is sharp and responsive but it doesn’t require the work of some other sporty luxury sedans so those luxury buyers who want more emphasis on comfort but with a sportier feel than previous models – the 2013 MKZ is the answer.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ does what previous midsized Lincolns have not done – combining luxury level comforts with moderate levels of performance. You don’t get the big power of the EcoBoost V6 in the MKS but the naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 does a great job of offering solid fuel economy and power while the steering, suspension and chassis setup afford this car great handling properties without compromising ride quality. The MKZ is more fun than any midsized Lincoln I have driven in the past and it is almost a more entertaining AND more versatile daily driver than other cars in the segment. Ford Motor Company did a great job designing the interior and exterior of the new MKZ to be a gorgeous luxury car and the drive qualities of the MKZ drive home that perfect blend of luxury and performance.

The Final Word
The Lincoln brand – particularly the midsized sedan range – has traditionally been criticized for being too much like the comparable Ford brand vehicle but the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is a beautiful luxury sedan with a look and feel all its own. This car might share a platform with the current Ford Fusion but that is where the similarities end so that is one less area where critics of the Lincoln brand can point out flaws. Beyond defeating that “fancy Ford” reputation, the new MKZ is a remarkable luxury sedan with all of the amenities that a car of this level needs to have in order to keep up with the automotive Joneses. The striking exterior design is sporty yet classy; the interior is plush, comfortable and loaded with high tech features and the drivetrain offers great performance in any conditions with the capability of getting better than 25mpg on the highway.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ does a masterful job of taking many of the aspects that make the larger and more expensive Lincoln MKS so popular and putting them into a smaller, more affordable vehicle with a price starting in the mid 30s and a heavily loaded price in the low 50s. Finally the MKS has a proper luxury car helping to draw new buyers to Lincoln showrooms around the country and for those new car shoppers in the market for a great midsized luxury sedan – the new MKZ is most certainly one of the cars that you must drive before making your next purchase.

This Lincoln MKZ review is updated on May 11, 2018.